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Tea Party Winners: Carla Gade's winner is Becky Dempsey, Andrea Boeshaar's winner Caryl Kane, Gina Welborn's winner Jasmine A., Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners book copy -- Lynda Edwards, teacup and saucer -- Wendy Shoults

Friday, August 28, 2015

Early American Music

Music came to this country with the Pilgrims. They sang from the Book of Psalms by Henry Ainsworth, 1612 edition. One of the hymns they sang was Old One Hundred, but it wasn't the Doxology we know today. 

Shout to Jehovah, all the earth.
Serve ye Jehovah with gladness;
before Him come with singing-merth.
Know, that Jehovah, He God is.
(Try it to the tune of the Doxology - it works!)

The Pilgrims also brought instruments with them. As did the Puritans. While the Puritans didn't allow instruments to be used in their church services, they placed great importance on singing. Cotton Mather wrote in his Direction for a Candidate of the Ministry "for I would not have a day pass without singing." He also did not discourage instruments in general, only in the church services. Instrumental music outside of the church was allowed and ... dare I speculate ... enjoyed!

The Puritans set about to make their music better. The third publication of any kind printed in the colonies was the Bay Psalm Book in 1640. This book included the lyrics only, no music. In 1698 they put out Ninth Addition of the Bay Psalm Book and included music for two voices. In between the first and ninth printings, many revisions were made to make the music better and easier to sing. The Puritans very much cared about their music.

So the next time you read a story about our dour and grim colonial ancestors who never cracked a smile or sang a tune ... you'll know better.


3 comments:

  1. Thank you for the post. The Moravian Church in 18th-century Pennsylvania had trombones in their worship services.

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    Replies
    1. I'd love that! I played trombone in the school band for a few years before switching to saxophone after getting braces. :)

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  2. My husband's family member is The Pastor of the Pylgrams!

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